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The problems of the Spanish nation-building process around 1900

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Most historians acknowledge that the Spanish nation-building process started late and was neither very profound nor successful. In general, they point to the slow modernisation process or the unwillingness of the elite to explain the weakness of Spanish nationalism in the decades around 1900. However, there are a number of factors that hampered the nation-building process in Spain that have not received the attention they deserve. In the first instance, the effects of the loss of the last remnants of the Spanish colonial empire in 1898 have generally been underestimated. Another item is the political clientelism that seriously hindered nation-building activities. A last observation concerns the role of ideology. Nationalism is not a uniform body of thought. In fact, both the right and the left had their own nationalising strategies, resulting in increasing polarisation.

Keywords: Clientelism; Fin de Siècle; Nation-building; Spain; Spanish-American War 1898

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Amsterdam

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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